Prayer in Schools

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Prayer in Public School

There are many different philosophies regarding prayer in public school. It seems to be a difficult issue to decide upon. The opinions are wide-ranging and convoluted. This paper will attempt to highlight the many ideas and opinions as to whether prayers in public school should be allowed and to what extent. It will further show how our founders' idea of a separate church and state has been taken out of context and why prayer in school should be allowed, but not required.

The first opinion to evaluate is that there should be absolutely no prayer of any kind in public schools. Bob Croddy has been teaching for almost 30 years and he wrote an article for the NEA Today opposing any type of prayer in school, including a moment of silence (NEA). In his article he first cites the Constitution's First Amendment; "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." Mr. Croddy goes on to say that a moment of silence is really just the beginning of the erosion of this First Amendment right (Croddy 45). He also says, "If we give the agents of government the right to require any religious practice of the citizenry - no matter how small--then we are well on our way to eliminating religious freedom" (Croddy 45). In his article he makes his opinion very clear that there is no need to institute a specific time for a moment of silence or prayer. He suggests that there is plenty of time throughout the school day to meditate or pray if one chooses to.

Katha Pollitt wrote a very sarcastic and biting essay in The Nation in 1994. She says go ahead and institute prayer in school. Pollitt says, "Right now religion has the romantic aura of the forbid...

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...make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." Prayer in school is not mandatory, but according to our Bill of Rights, it is a guaranteed right!

Work Cited

Comeaux, Connie and Bob Croddy. " Should School Begin with a Moment of Silence?" NEA Today. September 15, 1995: 45.

Hart and Teeter Research Company. "Public Opinion On-Line." June 30, 1999.

Koppel, Nathan."New Reading on School Prayer."Texas Lawyer. September 20, 1999: 1.

Pollitt, Katha. " Subject to Debate." The Nation. December 26, 1994: 788.

Taylor, Stuart. "School Prayer a Issue a Judicial Minefield." The Connecticut Law Tribune. September 27, 1999: Sec. News.

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